On my drive into work this morning, I heard the following:
“Flawed people can do great things.”
The speaker went on to share an example of King David from the Bible. David was an incredible king. He fought and won many battles. He strengthened his kingdom. He had passionate followers. Bible said that he was a “man after God’s own heart.”
But King David was also flawed. Too often, he took matters into his own hands. He had a wandering eye that led him to seduce a woman and then later had her husband killed in battle. David suffered because of his flaws. But he also did great things in spite of his flaws.
Today, I am grateful for grace that sees my flaws but still allows me to be effective. I cannot ignore my flaws and shortcomings (there are many). I must get better. I must build on my strengths. I cannot make excuses for my flaws. But I must work to do great things. My family is counting on me. My team is counting on me.
I am not disqualified. Neither are you.
My boss just shared the following with our Lead Team. It is worth your time to read this. I’m not sure where he found this, but read it, let it sink in, and then let’s all do it.
But Enough About Me…
I sat in on a solid coaching session with a regional manager and two area managers while traveling last week.
Okay, to be honest, I sat near the session and not “in it”.
The hotel I was staying in was under construction and the temporary dining area was not very large.
I was given the one open table near three guys having dinner and talking shop.
Not having earplugs or a television close enough to focus on, their conversation became the soundtrack of my meal. Thankfully, the most senior guy in the group doled out some pretty good advice.
Beyond the nuts and bolts of their particular business (some type of manufacturing), there was a more general piece of advice he gave that had me smiling and trying to see the reactions from his mid-30-years old dinner mates.
He told them, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I heard way too many complaints about First World problems in front of your teams today.”
As his dinner mates smiled sheepishly, he continued, “You guys are doing well. I know you work hard and believe me, I’m proud of our results. But your teams don’t need to hear about how much your kids’ private schools cost or how frustrated you are with the guys putting in your new pool.”
I will give him credit.
He made that point in a clear, yet non-scolding way.
As they joked around a bit about not wanting to sound like “that guy”, the senior manager put a nice ribbon on the subject.
He told them, “Look, sometimes the difference between the boss that you are inspired by and one that you resent is what he or she talks about most. If you are always talking about yourself, they see you as a ‘me first’ person.”
He continued, “If you are asking questions about their jobs, their families, their goals… they’ll walk through a wall for you because they know you are interested in their success…not just yours.”
I fought off the urge to lean over and high-five that senior manager.
Well, mostly because that would have been really weird.
Whether it is the employees working for you, the peers working with you or the customers you work for, how much of your conversations are centered on them?
Folks who focus their attention on others tend to attract more goodwill and success towards themselves.
Strive to be that person.
Leaders seek to add value at every opportunity. Some tend to think of this as primarily offering advice or come up with a solution. I want to encourage you to look to add value by doing this:
Demonstrate Kindness & Consideration
We life in a harsh world. Sometimes that harshness creeps into our team members’/coworkers’ lives when least expected. Add value to them during these times by showing some kindness.
How do you do that?
- Listen – not as a counselor, but as someone who cares.
- Encourage – write a short note to say “thank you” to someone you noticed has been working hard and getting results
- Praise – don’t underestimate your spoken praise for a team member. This simple action can carry them for many days (weeks?)
- Share – share a resource that might be of help to someone you know is struggling (I had the privilege of doing just this today!).
What else could you do to add value to someone who truly needs it? Be creative. Share addition ideas in the comments below.
I am about to finish John C. Maxwell’s new book, No Limits. If you have not read this book, order it now! It will increase your capacity to lead and succeed!
Here’s an excerpt from the chapter on “Risk Capacity”.
“I knew I needed to develop a process to deal with fear, so I did. It didn’t cure my fear, but it tamed it enough for me to keep taking risks. It goes like this:
- Identification: Who am I? I am a person of worth attempting to do something worthwhile.
- Action: What will I do? Take action and do the right thing regardless of feelings.
- Emotion: How will I proceed? I will allow my actions to shape my feelings.
My discovery? Each time I acted with courage and did what was right rather than giving in to what I felt, my will overcame my fears. My fears have never completely left me, but they no longer control me.”
All along my employment journey, I have had positions that had varying amounts of responsibility, and I believed I held myself very accountable. If asked in the summer of 2008 (when I became CEO of a publicly traded company), how accountable I held myself, I would have answered that I held myself extremely accountable.
That is hard to say, and it took me a few years to see the light, and probably another year or so to admit it. What happened?